Whether you’re living pay cheque to pay cheque, or have a little money saved up for a rainy day, an unexpected illness or injury that stops you from working can have a big financial impact.
Long-term disability benefits, if you have access to them either through work or an individual policy, are meant to help replace some of your income and provide peace of mind.
In order to qualify for long-term disability benefits, most policies say that you must show that you are totally disabled from returning to your own job during the initial 24 months. After 24 months you will continue to receive benefits only if you’re unable to return to any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified.
The application process is usually pretty straightforward. There’s a form that both you and your doctor fill out confirming that you’re disabled from working and you’ll send in supporting medical records. But the easy application process can be deceptive and applications are frequently denied at first instance.
Sometimes the denial is legitimate, but frequently it’s not, and you may need to hire a lawyer to show that you have a genuine claim and are serious about pursuing it. That’s where we can help.
Until then, here are a few things you should always keep in mind when you’re hit with an unexpected illness or injury and need to apply for long-term disability benefits:
- Make sure you have a copy of your benefits booklet or individual policy handy. Unlike auto insurance policies, which are standardized by law, disability insurance entitlement is a product of what’s in your specific contract.
- Be sure to visit your family doctor and report your symptoms. And continue to visit your doctor if your symptoms do not go away. Most disability policies require that you be under continuous care of a doctor or attending treatment while you receive benefits.
- Make sure to submit your application for long-term disability benefits as soon as possible. Payments usually begin after an elimination or waiting period set by your policy. That might be anywhere from as little as 30 days to as much as 720 days after you first became disabled. But bear in mind that you don’t have to wait until the end of your elimination period to apply and in fact shouldn’t, because that can result in a serious delay in payments.
- If your claim is denied, make sure to take note of any deadlines to appeal the decision. If you are part of a union, you may be required to go through your union for any disputes.
- And finally don’t get discouraged if your claim is denied. Whatever the reason for your denial, it’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so that you can be made aware of your rights, and ensure that no deadlines are missed.
If you’ve been hit with an unexpected injury or illness and have been denied long-term disability benefits call the team at Jasmine Daya & Co. at 416-967-9100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.